Tag Archives: denmark

Canon 5D Mk II captures Copenhagen

A few months back I wrote my first impressions having just upgraded from Canon 5D Mk I to Mk II. Winter and non-stop grey overcast weather (and mood) has meant I have only shot a few hundred images since then but I still feel I have enough clicks to write my second impressions of this fantastic camera.

Wednesday the weather in Copenhagen cooperated and produced some fantastic light and clouds. As the sun was setting I created this image of the lovely clouds:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Finger Clouds at Sunset
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Now; with the sun gone and human vision starting to struggle this is where the 5DMk2 shines! It can see in the dark! Well, so can all cameras, it’s a matter of exposure, but the 5D does it so well at such high quality that it really is a view into another universe! This is a 15 second exposure with just a bit of dusk light remaining. I could hardly see this but the 5D can, switch to live view on the gorgeous 3” screen and you have night vision! Here’s Copenhagen After Dark:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen After Dark Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Second impressions

  • Upgrade from old 5D was definitely worth it! The old 5D was top but this is even more top! (for all you ‘The Castle’ fans out there!)
  • Camera still behaving very nicely, not a single problem. Upcoming trips to Africa and Australia will test it, Luminous Landscape article (25% 5DMk2 failures in Antarctica) has me slightly worried so the old 5D is joining me!
  • The 14-bit 21 megapixel RAW files continue to amaze. They are truly gorgeous and I love having single shots at this size, more more, I want more pixels (at the same quality of course)!
  • Live view and live histogram is proving incredibly useful, much more than I would have thought. I didn’t think I would use it much but it as a great way of previewing your shot, exposure, aperture, white balance before shooting. It is great for shooting stitched panoramas and it is very helpful with exposure and focus at night. It eats battery power though; I won’t be using it in a desert where I can’t recharge.
  • I am still used to the top button layout of the 5D Mk I, keep pressing the wrong buttons!
  • One thing I would want to change. With the old 5D you could use the wheel on the back of the camera to change aperture in A mode. Here; you have to use the thumb wheel exclusively. I keep changing exposure compensation when I really wish to change the aperture.
  • Battery life is improved greatly over the old 5D and is impressive. Which is a very good thing since a 5D Mk extra battery is simply impossible to find anywhere presently. Sold out worldwide! So I am going to Africa with 1 battery and definitely bringing the old 5D as backup.
  • Thanks Canon for making the cover for the remote cable release plug easier to remove. May seem a small thing but I had a continuing battle with this rubber cover on the old 5D 😀
  • The HD video results is mindboggling, can’t get over how good the files look (even if my video skills are beyond crap). Can’t get over how big the files get! My PC can’t even play the 1920×1080 files without skipping here and there. To see some outstanding 5DMk2 videos, check out Michael Fletcher and his latest videos.
  • Automatic sensor cleaning. Well…I am cloning out dust spots! It may still work to a certain degree of course; I may have had many more dust spots without it. We shall see how it deals with the sand of Africa and Australia!
  • And…5D Mk II can actually see in the dark! Quite a feat!

Many more images and impressions to come as I take the 5D Mk II on the road!

I see cloudscapes in the dark

For most of the day the human eye is far superior in every respect to any digital sensor or film. Much greater dynamic range, much better colours. Once the light is fading it’s a different story, our human eyes fail and the camera wins. This is especially true for modern digital SLR wonders!

Tuesday afternoon Copenhagen was treated to a bit of Winter magic. 95% of Winter days here are gray and overcast (so is my mood) with so few outdoor photo opportunities, but this day was sunny with perfect conditions for a Winter sunset. A Winter sunset has a much colder white balance turning the reds pink and magenta. Copenhagen has a lake system running a semi circle around the inner city as seen here. In the good old medieval days the lakes protected the city; gates were shut at night. Today, it is a good place to go to capture some mega cloudscapes standing on one of the bridges shooting alongside the lake. It was so windy the camera strap was at a 90 degree angle to the tripod and the whole rig was threatening to take off down the road. It was so cold time froze. But it was beautiful as the sun was setting and the red, pink and magenta colours were reflected into the frozen lake:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Winter Sunset Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Now; as the sun set and the even better dusk light awakens it is where your eyes begin to fail but the camera really shines – as we can simply do longer exposures to collect more light. Even light that we cannot see. There’s something about red light at dusk at long exposures that looks so fantastic when captured, even though your eye can’t really see in colour anymore as there’s just not enough light. But the colour is there, so keep shooting until it’s pitch black. Even though you can barely see anything the camera sees just fine and will pick up this incredible almost invisible warm magic dusk light. Tuesday proved a good example, I created this image at the very end of the dusk light with my whole body frozen in suspended animation except for my thumb operating the cable release (did I mention it was cold?)

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Winter Dusk Cloudscape
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It really is a bit magical. Your eyes cannot see anything but when you review the captured photos it’s a bright view into another world. Often people pack up their gear and leave as the sun hits the horizon and they miss the magical dusk light that can last up to 20-30 minutes. So stay, shoot, and remember – cameras can see in the dark!

Canon 5D Mk II; First Impressions

I pre-ordered my new travelmate, my 5D Mk II, in early October and on the 23rd of December Photografica called me; my copy was now in store! I just had time to pick it up before flying to see family for Xmas. I had very few opportunities to go out and shoot with my new tool due to Xmas celebrations and a never ending supply of boring grey overcast days. Fortunately one afternoon offered some great surreal light!

As the sun was setting a very heavy and thick mist shrouded the landscape and provided brilliant light for some otherworldly landscape images. I chose to warm the light a bit to enhance the misty magic and mood of the setting sun. These are two of my very first 5D Mk II exposures:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Winter Mist landscape 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Tree in the Winter Mist 
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

These are single image shots at iso100; and apart from the 14-bit 21 mega pixel raw files the 5D Mk I would have produced similar results I reckon. This is not a review; nor a test of noise or black spots etc. It is simply my first impressions as a photographer (not a gear head / pixel peeper) using the 5D Mk II. Cameras don’t take pictures, photographers do.

First Impressions

  • It is a strange feeling to use a brand new camera! My old 5D is battle worn with scratches and dust; the Mk II is impeccable (for now; hehe). 
  • As a 5D Mk I user, the Mk II is super easy to get going and use. It’s an upgrade; not a new camera; so it’s still my good old mate the 5D !
  • The house feels stronger and better built. Surface seems less prone to scratches and a lot more dust proof. Time will tell if this holds true 🙂
  • The 14-bit 21 mega pixel RAW files are about 25-26 MB in size and a whopping 5616 x 3744 of drop dead gorgeous pixels! I sell most of my prints at sizes from 70cm wide up to 2 meters (8 meters being the current record) so I need all the pixels I can get! Yes, stitching is amazing but not always possible, and the 21 megapixels is going to make a huge difference for my work.
  • ISO display in the viewfinder! Finally. Might prevent me from shooting those sunrises at iso 800 having used iso 800 the previous night and forgetting to reset. My head is in the clouds and my feet aren’t touching the ground much either when I shoot so I need all the help I can get!
  • Brilliant 3” lcd screen is a huge upgrade from the old 5D Mk I and is beautiful to behold.
  • Not really anything to do with the 5D Mk II but bloody f#”£€#&!!! Image Stabilizer on the 24-105mm lens. I forgot to turn it off and when shooting from a tripod the IS ruins half the shots. Only remembered to turn it off half way through the shoot (my brain was frozen).
  • Menu is a lot easier to navigate and the customizable My Menu is a neat idea. Makes it easier to access options like Mirror Lock Up especially as we still do not have a dedicated Mirror Lock Up button.
  • I still miss having a histogram display mode with just a huge RGB histogram on the 3” lcd screen. In strong outback sunlight it’s next to impossible to see the small RGB histogram although I suspect the brilliant 3” lcd screen on the 5D Mk II will help slightly. Still; can I please have a histogram mode with an RGB histogram and nothing else.
  • Live view mode is surprisingly good and useful! HD Video is looking very nice indeed (although I am useless at shooting and editing video)!
  • Automatic sensor dust cleaning is a brilliant feature – if it works. Time will tell. The old 5D sensor was a dust magnet so it couldn’t get any worse!

As I get a lot more exposures with my new mate I will post much more in depth experiences here. Especially Live view and Video are totally new to me. For now; these are just my very first impressions. Can’t wait to bring the 5D Mk II to Africa and Australia and really road test it!

– and happy new year everyone!

The Last of the 617 and panorama composition

When I left for Australia I returned the Fuji G617 camera to owner Ivar Mjell (thanks again mate for letting me use it). Just before returning it I got in one last shoot on an August evening where the weather was very kind to me.

On this evening I finally got a big cloudscape at Lake Peblinge so I could use the 617 at my favourite spot in Copenhagen:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Søtorvet Sunset in Velvia 617
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This shows the massive view captured by the Fuji G617 with the fixed 105mm lens. I would have liked to zoom in a little, those buildings on the left are ugly.

Another option is rotating this massive camera! I have attempted a vertical 617 shot many times but this is one time where I feel it actually worked. To fill a 3:1 frame at such a wide angle view you need something very tall in the composition – in this case the gorgeous clouds.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Søtorvet Sunset in 617 – vertical
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The 617 conclusion

If someone made an affordable practical 617 digital camera I would use nothing else. I really enjoyed shooting in the 617 format and being able to compose a 3:1 panorama in the viewfinder, no guesswork and no digital stitching. Nothing beats that. I am addicted to the creative power of the digital darkroom and the digital workflow so I didn’t enjoy the slow process of using transparency film again, getting them processed and scanned etc. But a digital 3:1 camera would be the best of both worlds. Note to camera manufactures: It does not need to be a 6x17cm sensor, just do 2 x 35mm sensors next to each other!

During my recent photo trip to Australia there were many times where I really wished I had the 617. Looking at some of my stitched digital panoramas I just know that on some of them I would have improved the composition (more about this later) a lot could I actually see the end product in the viewfinder. Then again; of course there are some shots I would have missed altogether because I would have been changing film or mucking with the manual settings etc. Some day when I can afford it I may end up carrying both a digital camera and an old 617 film camera.

Panorama composition

I read a lot of photographer blogs and books. I spend hours at every gallery I visit be it online or in real life. I view perhaps a hundred photos everyday for inspiration and enjoyment. Photos shot with everything from digital point and shoots to DSLR’s to 617 pano cameras to 8×10 view cameras. There are many brilliant photographers out there using whatever equipment they choose to use. No camera ever took a photo anyway. Photographers take photos! Not cameras! Is there a point coming up? Yes!

Based upon the millions of photos I’ve viewed and my own experience I generally find 617 panorama photographers do better and stronger compositions than photographers doing digital stitched panoramas. I know that’s a strong generalisation and it’s only my opinion of course. There are great 617 photographers out there; there are great digital stitched pano photographers out there.  But generally; I find the compositions stronger in true panoramas like the 617 (I don’t mean my own feeble attempts).

If you know how to work a composition you know one step makes all the difference. One step in the right direction makes all the elements line up in your composition. Or maybe you need to get down lower. Or up higher. This is much easier when you can see your composition in the viewfinder than when you’re stitching many vertical shots together. That’s why I find 617 shots have stronger composition. There are probably other reasons. The 617 photographers have probably been doing it much longer; more experience. Half the planet doesn’t own 617 cameras; only pro photographers and pano enthusiasts meaning the quality should be higher in general. Of course there are many boring 617 shots as well and many brilliant digitally stitched panoramas.
Still; in general the 617 pano compositions look stronger to me!

I usually shoot a cropped panorama of the same scene as I shoot a stitched panorama and often the cropped has better composition. That’s why an affordable digital 3:1 camera – like a digital Hasselblad X-pan – would be most welcome!

Field of Dreams

I grew up on a farm so I have a strong nostalgic affection for any farm related landscape photos. I do miss country living and if my family still owned our farm I would shoot an awful lot of “Harvest in Sunset Light” panoramas every year in August. It is certain that my love of wide open remote desolate fields and landscapes grew out of living on a farm and then found heaven in the Australian outback where the sense of space is never ending.

Denmark is a densely populated country so finding landscape views not ruined by bitumen roads or power lines is a struggle. Me and my mate Markus managed to do so on a bit of a road trip into the Danish “outback” last week. The result is this Field of Dreams:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Wheat Field of Dreams Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

With an incoming rain storm the clouds looked spectacular and the light had that super soft “just before the storm” extra charged quality that looks so good in photos. This is shot digitally and stitched in PTgui from 5 vertical images. I also shot a few rolls with the Fuji G617 so it’ll be interesting to compare the two once I get the slides scanned. This shot received a fair bit of post production, the wheat field was much greener but I like it golden so I warmed the colour and changed the hue. The clouds were a blue tone that didn’t go too well with the gold so what do you do, you warm the clouds as well! I love the digital darkroom and I am sure Ansel Adams would have too. A relatively strong vignette put the finishing touch on my Field of Dreams.

Me at work in the field as captured by Master Photographer Markus Hornum-Stenz This road trip and Field of Dreams (one too many movie references you think?) reminded me that it’s possible to shoot some alright landscapes here in Denmark and I thoroughly enjoyed working in the wheat field. Doesn’t always have to be me standing in the most secluded secret sacred spot in Australia having battled snakes and crocs to get there, this shot may lead the way for more landscapes from home. Still love the snakes and crocs though!

Portfolio scrapbook online

portfolio-blog I recently created a Portfolio & Testimonials page on my gallery. It is a portfolio, a scrapbook if you will, showing you a selected few examples of how my photos have been used by customers. A big thank you to the kind customers who chose to send in photos and testimonials. Click the thumbnail on the right to go to the page.

An interesting recent sale was a 8 x 2.4 meter wide print of Sydney Opera House to the newly opened Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark. If you’re in the Aalborg area, my print is shown in the opening exhibition running from now to 10th of September 2008 so make sure you stop by the Utzon Center and check out my mega print!

Painting the early Summer in Copenhagen

It’s been juuuuuust above 25 degrees for the past few days. In Denmark we call that “Summer days” and wear next to no clothes – In Australia we call that “bit cold today mate” and dress for Winter! Nevertheless, this past week we’ve had a “hot” spell and it’s fantastic having the internal batteries recharged by some sunshine and some heat.

As incredibly nice as the heat is it’s bleeding boring for photography. Cloudless skies and very harsh strong sunlight provides no dramatic light at all for landscape photographers and nothing happens in the sky at dusk. Well, the sun sets at around 9pm and the last hour or so before and after sunset can provide some ok light as long as the sky isn’t a big feature in the composition. I shot these two during the past week:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Tycho Brahe Planetarium Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Nyhavn Canal Spring Sunset
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The first shot is a 10 second exposure of Lake “St. Jørgen” and the Tycho Brahe Planetarium about 30 minutes after sunset. The second shot is the Nyhavn canal (I get a bit sick of shooting Nyhavn ‘cos it’s such a cliché shot but they sell well!) about 30 minutes before sunset. Both nights with very little to no wind creating some nice reflections. Both shots have ok light but look a bit flat and lifeless in the originals so I painted some drama using painting with light (I am loving my new Wacom tablet!). In the Nyhavn shot I went for the look of something between a painting and a photo.

I shoot my cityscapes just as I would landscapes. For me it’s the same. It’s landscapes that just happens to have some buildings in them (which is what I have at hand living in Copenhagen, not a lot of outback landscape here!). So like any landscape photographer, I love the warm sunny days but just want a few clouds and some dramatic light at dusk as well – not too much to ask hey 🙂 Well that’s life for landscape and cityscape photographers depending on natural light. We wait and wait for that special fleeting moment in the sky and hope to be ready, camera on lens cap off, when it happens!